La Chanchita – Off-Grid Adventure Bus

The following is a guest post from Manu at La Chanchita.

La Chanchita is a 1966, 911 Mercedes-Benz bus.  It used to be a city bus in Buenos Aires in the sixty’s before they converted it into a truck. We bought it last year to give her a third life as a motorhome!

It took us 9 months to do the conversion. We had the chance to use a carpinter shop at home so we could build it in wood the way we wanted.

The plan is to use the bus to bring people, mainly adventurers and extreme sports lovers, to discover South America. We wanted it to be totally autonomous, with a good insulation.

We are Freeskiers and travel a lot during the winter, that’s why we decided to install a wood stove which guarantees a warm and dry interior with a lower cost and definitly more comfort than any other heating system.

We decided to put 12v LEDs for illumination so we have very low consumption and don’t need to be plugged in on 220v. We also have a 12v to 220v converter in case we need to plug in phones or computers.

We also installed 2 water tanks. A 350L tank outside under the bus and a 150L inside. So we can switch from the outside tank to the inside tank when temperatures go down to be sure the water will never get frozen.

All the mechanics have been changed for a 1114 Mercedes-Benz engine with a truck differential with high and low gear so we can climb up in the Cordillera de los Andes easily.

About the Project

South America offers endless possibilities for extreme sports, travelling, photography and filming lovers. But most of the spots and ski resorts in the Andes are not always easy to access. As opposed to Europe or North America, transportation is not always well organized and some stations offer no tourist accommodation or transport service. That is why we decided to convert a bus into a comfortable motorhome.

With all services on board (Sleep 6, water, electricity, shower, toilet , wood stove) the Chanchita bus is completely autonomous and gives you the opportunity to be in the right place at the right time. It gives you the chance to always have first tracks!

Learn more about La Chanchita on Facebook and on their website.

Tiny Ski Lodge

Outdoor Research Tiny Ski Lodge

The folks at Outdoor Research have a tiny house for chasing powder. They have a couple seasons under their belts now and a new truck after the first finally passed due to old age. The house serves not only as a ski lodge for the Outdoor Research Sidecountry skiers & snowboarders but serves as an ambassador for the company out in the field.

The house was originally built in 2011 by Zack Griffin, one of the skiers, who works as a carpenter after the snow has melted. Zack and his crew worked steadily for seven weeks and had the house ready just in time for it’s original road trip. It’s only 112 square feet, but sleeps five and has a wood stove for heat. There’s no bathroom, but there is a small kitchen with a fridge and running water. The house has a lot of miles on it now, and seems to be holding up well.

One of the home’s most unique features is the drawbridge bunk. Two wood boards that slide out from below the main loft and connect up front to form a narrow sleeping berth. Two others sleep in the small loft, and two more down below in a sofa bed.

Kudos to Outdoor Research and the Sidecountry Skiers & Snowboarders that made this project happen. Love to see it progressing into multiple seasons. Below are some images grabbed from the videos. Image credit to Outdoor Research.

Outdoor Research Tiny Ski Lodge - Crisp Morning

Outdoor Research Tiny Ski Lodge - Night

Outdoor Research Tiny Ski Lodge - Glamping Outdoor Research Tiny Ski Lodge - Party Outdoor Research Tiny Ski Lodge - Party 2

Here’s a couple of shots showing what it takes to get to their starting line.

Outdoor Research Tiny Ski Lodge - Climbing the Back Country

Outdoor Research Tiny Ski Lodge - Long Way Up


Now at the starting line, it’s all downhill from here.

Outdoor Research Tiny Ski Lodge - Top of the World


Yikes… not for the faint of heart.


Outdoor Research Tiny Ski Lodge - Looking Down

I think the early American pioneers called this kind of terrain impassable.

Outdoor Research Tiny Ski Lodge - Longer Way Down

Outdoor Research Tiny Ski Lodge - Steep Mountain


Tasting the snow.


Outdoor Research Tiny Ski Lodge - Eating Snow

Love this final shot, a tiny house day dream.

Outdoor Research Tiny Ski Lodge - Daydream

If Outdoor Research is thinking about a future tiny house that (1) has a bathroom, (2) space for snow mobiles, (3) and space for extra gear, they might consider building a new tiny house on a 5th wheel trailer. This should allow you to legally pull a snowmobile trailer too and provide the extra space inside for gear and a bathroom. If you use steel framing or SIPs you’ll save some weight too.

Saturday Tiny House Videos

Tiny house videos are better than saturday morning cartoons. Below are some tiny house & simple living videos we spotted online this past week. Also:

The Sidecountry Sessions Tiny House is currently on the road seeking fresh powder for its 5 ski bum occupants. I spotted this on Tiny House Blog.

Watch a tiny super-adobe earthen home go up at My Little Homestead.

Kevin Coy walks us through another how-to build a tiny house video.

Kevin Coy also shares a trailer conversion living space with us.

These folks build a mobile forge with fold-up sides and a small sleeping space. Spotted this first on